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    What is an acre? Kiritsis Law Group 212 922 0005

    By: John Kiritsis, Esq., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M

    It is a vistage of British common law, as a term to indicate the size of a certain land. Generally, 1 acre is the equivalent to 43,560 square feet of land. In US real estate transactions, an acre has legal significance, because it is often used in measuring land sizes. Legally, most U.S. jurisdictions don’t seem to prescribe or imply a specific shape regarding an acre. However, U.S. jurisdictions seem to be strict in implying a certain numerical size when referring to acre. The word “acre” can be traced to Ancient Greek (“agros” which means open field), and in many parts of medieval Europe, it often referred to the size of the land that could be made tillable in one day by a yoke of oxen. Historically, and in modern times, courts in the United States, have refused to prescribe a certain type of land use, when referring to an acre. During real estate negotiations, it is important for a party to not confuse the legally defined size of an acre, with a builder’s acre (in construction work, often times an acre will be referred to as 40,000 square feet which is a nice round number that’s easy to work with, but it is about 10 % smaller than the size of a survey acre!).

     

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